At a time seeminlgy when all hands on deck applies, the Raiders will be without lead running back Darren McFadden, starting wide receiver Jacoby Ford and cornerback Chris Johnson for a game coach Hue Jackson, quarterback Carson Palmer and others consider a “must-win.”
And that’s if the Raiders are lucky. Jackson still isn’t sure whether he will have the services of running back Taiwan Jones, defensive tackle John Henderson, free safety Michael Huff, either. All three are questionable as of now.
None is likely to play, gived Jackson’s stated preference for using players in games who practiced at least once in the run up to the game. Henderson, Johnson and Huff missed all three practices this week.
Still, no one can be ruled out when the Raiders are at a point in the season when one more loss can all but knock their focus from a Super Bowl title to the 2012 offseason.
Jackson has steered clear of using injuries as an excuse for the Raiders recent downturn. Instead, he prefers to focus on the players at his disposal.
Hence, Jackson is thrilled at the prospect of getting back wide receiver Denarius Moore on Sunday after playing the past three games without his talented rookie.
“Obviously, we didn’t say Denarius Moore was out, so that’s improvement,” Jackson said. “The team practice hard, we have had three really good days of practice. But it’s got to manifest in the way you play. Our guys are ready to go, we’re very excited about the fans, our crowd.”
Moore worked on returning punts, but he might not be used in that capacity Sunday.
“We got to ease him back in to this, but he looked like he’s back up and rolling,” Jackson said. “So, potentially he could be back there at some point in time, but right now, myself and John Fassel haven’t made that decision to stick him back there.”
FORD, MCFADDEN ON PREMISES
Jackson confirmed that Ford and McFadden still are in Alameda, working out with team trainers and receiving rehab treatments on a daily bais.
McFadden hasn’t been spotted for nearly three weeks. Ford was not on the the practice field either of the past two days.
“Yeah, they’re both here,” Jackson said. “They’re here in Alameda, right down inside. They just run from (the media).”
In other words, Ford and McFadden have no interest in speaking with you, the fans, anymore than necessary.
Players had a fun time chiding Jackson for an upcoming segment in ESPN The Magazine, in which Jackson is shown receiving a manicure-pedicure before the Raiders game against the Chicago Bears.
When asked about it Friday, Jackson told reporters: “Wow! If it’s not you guys, it’s the players. I have taken it today, I have taken it. That got out pretty fast.”
Jackson said he had an ulterior motive in agreeing to be photographed during his so-called “me time.”
“Team building, that’s what that was for,” Jackson said. “I wanted to see what that would be like. Wow. You guys never had a pedicure/manicure in this group?”
STAT OF THE DAY
The Raiders are one of three teams with a winning record that has been outscored this season. The Denver Broncos and the New York Giants are the two others.
STAYING THE COURSE
There’s a time for cracking the whip and a time for doling out hugs. Knowing when is the key, Jackson said of how he has maintained control over the locker room through an up and down season.
“You can’t be inconsistent with your team,” Jackson said. “You can’t be too high one minute, too low the next. I’ve been who I am. And the players understand that and appreciate that. I’m not going to change much. They understand when they need a good tongue lashing, I’m going to give it to them. Sometimes, you have to put your arm around them. But the bottom line is, at the end of the day, it’s whatever it takes to win.”
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